Getting your first tattoo can be an amazing experience. It’s something that does require a bit of thought beforehand, though. Below are a few things to consider before you get in the chair for the first time.

Think About Your Lifestyle

The first thing to consider when you’re looking at a getting a tattoo is your own lifestyle. Will getting a tattoo impact how you are viewed by people? Will it impact your job? If so, you might want to consider getting tattooed in a place that’s easy to cover up with clothes or makeup. Getting a tattoo is becoming more and more socially acceptable, but those in more conservative areas or in public service jobs might need to be more careful with their choices. Additionally, if you have family members who would disapprove of the tattoo and getting one would put your relationship in jeopardy, you will need to seriously consider your decision.

Consider Costs

Costs matter when it comes to tattooing. While there are certainly deals out there, you need to know what you should expect to pay for a high-quality piece. Going online to do your research is helpful, but you’ll have to talk to a specific artist to figure out exactly what you want. Remember, adding color or shading might cost extra, so more complex or fully-realized can be quite pricey. In general, you can count on cost depending on the placement (and how difficult it will be for the artist to do the tattoo on that part of your body), the size, the level of difficult, added color, and how experienced your chosen tattoo artist is.

Look at the Designs

Once you’ve squared away the basics, you need to think about the design of your tattoo. Remember, this is a piece that’s going to stay with you for the rest of your life so you’ll want to pick something that really works. If it’s your first tattoo, you might want to go for something small so that you can get comfortable with the idea of having a permanent piece of artwork etched onto your body. If you’re not sure what to get, ask your close friends and family member for suggestions and ideas.

Assessing Artists

Finally, make sure that you put some effort into thinking about the artist you choose. A good tattoo artist is going to do more than just apply a design to your body—his or her skills are going to have a huge impact on how your tattoo looks and your recovery period, as well as how safely the process is done. Always work with someone who has excellent reviews and who has tattoo insurance policies to cover liability issues.

Don’t rush into your first tattoo. Come up with a good idea that you can commit to, think about the location, find an artist, and be prepared to pay a fair price. Once you’ve got everything planned out, you can plan on getting an excellent tattoo that you will be able to carry with you for the rest of your life.